During a crisis management case study huddle session at Event360, hosted by The Black Tomato Agency today (25 May), event professionals admitted the industry faced ‘a serious challenge’ when getting clients to consider new destinations.
"The recent attacks and security scares worldwide have made people more cautious. Certain destinations, such as Istanbul and Marrakech are now off the menu," said Jack Marfleet, head of events at CWT Meetings & Events.
So, how can agencies pitch destinations in an increasingly cautious market?
Make sure you’ve been to the destination
"We like to suggest places that are off the beaten track. Some of the new places we’ve explored are Cuba and Zimbabwe," said business director at The Black Tomato Agency, Elliott Grant. "A key thing for us when pitching destinations is always choosing somewhere that one of the team members has been. I’d actually been to Zimbabwe on holiday before we pitched it to Mini and I loved it. We discussed it as an innovative destination before pitching. As a dynamic company, it really worked for the brand."
Perception is different from reality
"Certain destinations, such as Morocco, have dipped in popularity because they’re so close to trouble in other parts of the world," said Cassander van Eerd, deputy managing director, events at AddingValue. "Morocco is a great place, for example, but lots of people don’t want to go there because they perceive it to be risky. Part of our work is to change perceptions within the industry."
Do your research well
"Once you’ve found a great new place, the next thing is finding a great supplier for the place you’re pitching," explained Grant. "We always suggest networking events are a good way to meet new suppliers, but you can also use people you have existing relationships with- for example, we went to our South Africa contact regarding our event in Zimbabwe." He added that agencies should be ahead of the curve when it comes to country updates. "Learn all the recent updates and news in a particular destination, and make the client aware of it."
Assess the real risk for clients
Grant pointed out that crises can happen at any time, all over the world and that agencies and clients should asses the real risk. "Safety is paramount but you need to assess the real risk. For example, we once had a trip cancelled in Kenya because someone had been kidnapped in a completely different place-it was unrelated to where we were going. If I read the news on what happens in the UK- I’m not sure I’d ever come."
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